What Comes Next and How to Like It

Abigail Thomas
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Oct 9, 2016

Through a series of short essays, Thomas lovingly paints a picture of her best friend Chuck, a heartbreaking portrait of her daughter’s cancer, eloquently wrangles her addictions, and throws in all the other stuff that makes a life a life. Somehow she makes the whole mess look beautiful.

Each page can be read independently, and I’ve revisited certain sections. For example, in “Painting, Not Writing,” Thomas says, “instead of not-writing, I am painting. I’m not a painter, but I make paintings anyway.” While this perfect little sample is representative of what you’ll find in What Comes Next, the essays are perfectly woven together and work well in concert.

What Comes Next and How to Like It is actually a prompt taken from Thomas's own book Thinking About Memoir, which was written for the AARP to “help adults look back at their past and use writing as a means of figuring out who they used to be and how they became who they are today,” and reads much like What Comes Next.

Loss of Serenity I don’t know why bad news always comes as a surprise. By now we should know better. There you are, pleasantly floating in the blue water on a summer day, not a blip on the horizon, and then, suddenly, an oil tanker is bearing down on you and your flimsy little pair of water wings.

Write two pages of what comes next, and how to like it.

Join us for a conversation with New York Times bestselling author Abigail Thomas. The acclaimed memoir writer will share her secrets to writing as we kick off the 2016 Writers Conference.

Reviewed by Helen H.
See their Lists and Reviews in our Catalog!